Marcus Chesney has long contended that “ninety-nine people out of a hundred, as witnesses, are just plain lousy”. When poisoned chocolates bought from the local village kill a young boy he decides to put his theory to the test.
His niece Marjorie, her fiancé George, and colleague Professor Ingram, all insist that they will be able to correctly describe his performance but when later questioned by police all have very different recollections of what happened.
It is the police who end up asking Marcus’ prepared questions as during the test someone dressed like H. G. Wells’ Invisible Man forced Chesney to swallow a green capsule and shortly after his curtain call he died.
DI Elliot, already in the area to investigate the original murder, takes charge of this case, and quickly calls in Gideon Fell, who was a friend of the dead man. Both men have more knowledge of the case than they first admit but even armed with this it needs to looked at several times before the spectacles can be removed and the full picture can be seen clearly.
Each of the four sections is headed by a quote by or about a historical poisoner and Dr Fell gives a lecture on The Poisoner before revealing the truth.
The hook of murder in full view of an audience is great and is then worked out well to provide an unexpected but very unpleasant killer. Carr has definitely become my new second-favourite GAD author. Roll on The Case of the Constant Suicides. Regardless of who the author is, you’d have to give it a go based on the title alone.
Vintage Mystery Challenge
Fulfils, even under its alternative title “The Problem of the Green Capsule”, “What – Colour in the title”.